Paper documentation fonts

Subject: Paper documentation fonts
From: "Peter Ring, PRC" <prc -at- PIP -dot- DKNET -dot- DK>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 1996 08:47:04 +1

On Tue, 18 Jun 1996 Marci Abels <maa5906 -at- CCP -dot- COM> wrote

> I'm looking for a backup source for readability and usabilty of fonts
> in paper documentation. Our paper manuals have been using Helvetica
> throughout. We have a new head of the department now and I want to
> propose that we continue to use Helvetica for section heads, call
> outs, and titles, but go to a serif font for the body copy. I know
> every class I've ever taken has stressed that a serif font makes
> reading easier, but I can't find the support I'm going to need for the
> departmental meeting. Our old boss thought serif fonts looked too
> informal. He didn't need any documentation to make this decision, but
> I'll need some to justify making a change.

My teachers on these subjects from the graphical and advertising
business has told me as follow:

Basically, serif fonts are easier to read than non-serif fonts
because the letters are more different. That is by the way the same
reason why it is easier to read lower case texts than UPPER CASE
TEXT.

But there are exceptions and another important point:

Technitians are generally more used to read non-serif fonts than
serif fonts, and because of that they read non-serif fonts easier.

Humanist are are generally more used to read serif fonts than
non-serif fonts, and because of that they read serif fonts easier.

I have been told, too, that non-serif fonts speaks more to the
rational side of people, contrary to serif fonts which speaks more to
the emotional side. That is why you should use serif fonts for
advertising, sales letters, etc.

Another point: Don't use too many different fonts and sizes on the
same page. That's bad graphically.

If somebody knows some good documentation on this area, I would be
very interested.

I hope this is to some help for you.

Greetings from Denmark
Peter Ring
PRC - specialist in user friendly manuals and quality measurements on
manuals.
prc -at- pip -dot- dknet -dot- dk
http://www.pip.dknet.dk/~pip323/index.htm
- homepage on user friendly instruction manuals with tips for
instruction manual writers.

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